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Ramblings and Musings

This has been a very strange year for me, in terms of having rejected Christianity. It’s strange because some of my friends have pretty much the same beliefs, but call themselves Christians. It doesn’t work for me. I feel very much like an outsider, and I don't think I could ever go back. It all feels fake now.

I've gone to the occasional worship service, mainly because friends were there, but it is very surreal. It's almost like I died and I'm looking at myself from the ceiling or something.

I feel like I’ve been lied to all my life, and it hurts.

I am trying to free myself, but sometimes I feel like I’m free-falling without a parachute.

I am trying to free myself, but the foundations of my Christian childhood will always be a part of who I am, both the good and the bad.

I find myself quoting scripture because it’s there in my brain, and it helps me make sense of a situation. And those Christian-based phrases: “There, but for the grace of God…”

Someday, I may be in a nursing home with dementia, singing hymns and praying, because that’s the only thing I understand anymore. (“There, but for the grace of God…”)

Those foundations of my childhood led me down a road I no longer wish to travel. I am slowly constructing a new foundation.

As human beings, we need to label things, but the labels all belong to organized religions or agnostics or atheists, and none reflect who I am. Even Spiritualism has a church in this town. But I no longer desire a ritual built around any label. I no longer wish for someone else to shape what my beliefs mean.

So what am I? What do I believe?

I believe in spirits, and I believe in Spirit(s). I believe in the light and dark that exist within each one of us. Our day-to-day struggle is within us. And we get a little help from our friends. And sometimes our Friend(s).

Meanwhile, I live every day, trying to get it right. Trying to choose love. Knowing that I can’t fix everything, but I must help fix some things.

One day at a time.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
Apr. 20th, 2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
Apr. 20th, 2012 08:50 pm (UTC)

It's a difficult place to be in. I understand not feeling like you fit into a certain label, holding your own beliefs and not wanting them to be judged and critiqued by others who think, "You should think/believe this way."

Even though I consider myself to be a Christian, I don't have any desire to attend church or study the Bible or any other activities/actions that people think Christians must do. I'm trying to follow my faith in my own way, and trying not to listen to what other people might say about it.
Apr. 20th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if your beliefs are similar to mine.

As to being judged, I can honestly say that I really don't give a damn what a stranger thinks about what I believe. I can't say that I've ever had anyone I know personally outside my immediate family voice any opinion about my beliefs (and my parents have not been overly assertive, thankfully). I wouldn't care what they thought, either, but I would be annoyed that anyone who called themselves a friend thought it was their place to say anything.

Sometimes people use the guise of "Christian love" to insert themselves into other people's business, but I've been fortunate not to have to deal with that - except when it comes to the lgbt issues I fight on behalf of others. All that "love the sinner, hate the sin" crap.

My mother is very disappointed. My dad probably thinks I'm going to hell. Since I no longer believe in hell, I'm not too worried about it. ;)
Apr. 21st, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
That is a difficult place to be in. It takes time to re-evaluate such a huge portion of your life. And yes, training that is that ingrained will be with you for the rest of your life to some extent. I still find reactions, verses, and songs in my head that I don't much care for anymore. It does feel like being lied to and used.

Hugs and blessings to you as you do your soul searching. May you find joy in your own path, wherever that path takes you.
Apr. 21st, 2012 12:21 am (UTC)
It makes me happy that you took the time to respond to this, because I know you've been down this road.

Thanks and hugs.
Apr. 21st, 2012 12:37 am (UTC)
My mother thought my rejection of Christianity was the fault of the religion class I took at university, but that was over half a lifetime ago and I didn't go back from becoming agnostic. She eventually stopped bugging me about it; I could've thought she just gave up and forgot, except she was warning my sister years after that about wanting to date an overly religious guy. "Take your sister to meet this man," she told her. "If she can't stand him or he tries to convert her, forget him; she's fair about people's religion, or lack of. He should be, too." I hope your mother will come to accept yours and not be upset, too. But you've gotta do your own thing.
Apr. 21st, 2012 01:35 pm (UTC)
LOL, your mom is a smart lady.

There are four of us kids. I was the last to attend church on any regular basis, so I guess that's why it's such a disappointment to her.

MY youngest SIL is pretty religious, though. She is always buying Christian-based video cartoons for her kids to watch. I think it would be very hard to take them to church all the time. They are a handful.

On the other hand, my SIL's beliefs have fueled her and my brother's prejudice against lgbt people, so you can imagine we are not close. ;-P

Homophobia and religion are choices, and I've chosed not to participate in either. ;-)
Apr. 21st, 2012 01:22 am (UTC)
In the book I am writing right now, at one point I quote Lytta Basset (one of my favorite theologians) who wrote, Avec tous les autres ou pas du tout -with everyone, or not at all. You might say that is my motto...

This is why I now identify mainly as a religious pluralist. I gather what is beautiful, and brew a love potion in my cauldron.

It would be fair to say that Taoism is probably one of my strongest influences. But I love... Love.

"When there is no place you've decided to call your own, no matter where you go, you are always heading home."
~Muso Soseki

I also love these words by Rumi: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there."

Edited at 2012-04-21 01:22 am (UTC)
Apr. 21st, 2012 01:36 pm (UTC)
Love is the best religion of all.
Apr. 21st, 2012 02:45 am (UTC)
Is there a Spiritualist church near you, worth checking out, they welcome everyone, spiritual not necessarily religious.
Apr. 21st, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC)
I'd never heard of such a thing, but yes, I've recently learned of a Spiritualist church.

I am hesitant to go at this point, because I think I need more time to shake off what was, before I try filling my cup with something else.
Apr. 21st, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
They'll be there, we go to the Spiritualist churches here from time to time, as well as a few Anglican, as we have beliefs that are strong but eclectic. I like the music, the energy, and the peace I get from the best ones.
Apr. 21st, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
I'm a little late to this thread, but only because I've been thinking about what to say.

There is nothing wrong with Seeking your own path. Abandonment of religion is not abandonment of faith. In my own journey I embraced that free fall just to see where it led me. The place I am now is very self-sufficient but not independent, and I like it that way. It allows for personal growth as well as involving others in my faith.

You don't necessarily have to rip up all the foundations of your House of Faith. You know there are some things about Christianity that you like and make sense to you. Those things are in other religions too- love is a universal cornerstone of every religion- the problem is that religion tends to try to tell you how and who to love. I personally think that Jesus would be appalled at what an exclusive club Christianity has turned out to be.

Be curious. Explore what you feel is right. Your morality is within you, not something that is imposed. You might find that those foundations you're so frustrated with right now are actually ones you'd like to keep pieces of. Love is everywhere, not just in religion.

I don't go to church regularly, much to my mother's dismay. She doesn't seem to see the hypocrisy. We're individual practitioners and prefer to keep our worship a private matter between us and the universe. Gods are not made, nor are they born- they are chosen.

What I do is more like practicing being present. I call it thinking sideways- expanding your awareness to encompass everything now and progress forward into each new present as it occurs and not trying to anticipate. It gives perspective on my choices for my future. This also means I have to take responsibility for the consequences of those choices and not blame them on something else like karma or God's will.

Bright blessings on your journey. It's not easy, but you are courageous. Feel free to PM or email me any time. You need not be alone for all of your trip. :)
Apr. 21st, 2012 06:08 pm (UTC)
I think that for the most part, I know which parts of Christianity I will keep in my heart. What I'm struggling to let go of is the anger at those who have fed me the kool-aid and at myself for drinking it for so long.

It's like a grieving process for me, and I have not reached the acceptance phase yet.

For the most part, I feel most spiritual when I'm singing and when I'm in nature. For now, I will embrace it when I feel it, and leave it alone when I don't.

Thanks for the invitation. I may take you up on that.
Apr. 22nd, 2012 04:12 am (UTC)
The door is always open.
Apr. 21st, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
My parents were deists, not Christian. I wasn't brought up to believe in the Bible, but I still sometimes think I'm more familiar with it than some really devout people who never read beyond what's assigned to them. The stuff I do believe in sounds about the same as yours (which is probably why you friended me). I believe people have souls, and we aren't the only ones who do. That the universe has dimensions we can't see, but that our spirits can interact with. It can be awkward, not having a label for these beliefs, but freeing, too. I find I can consider whatever possibility comes up and respond to it according to my own experiences, attitude, and reasons, without feeling like I'm doing something wrong by doing so.
Apr. 21st, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, I friended you because we have some common ground to build on.

I think I will keep things ambiguous for now. I think that is the way to inner peace at this point.
Apr. 21st, 2012 11:09 pm (UTC)
That's a tough place to be in. :(

There are some great aspects of Christianity, and part of it (as well as parts of all religions) that do so much good in the world and provide guidance and help to people in need. And there are also the bad parts, and even more so the people who give their religions a bad name.

I wouldn't worry about trying to define or label what you believe or where you fit in the big religious scheme. You know in your heart what's right for you, and that's what's important. *hugs*
Apr. 22nd, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
The good thing about the most predominant churches is the infrastructure they've built to help people. The United Methodist Church has a huge presence in Haiti and Africa, among other places. They were already there when the earthquake hit Haiti.

The bad things are too many to mention. The Church is power, and that power has been abused and continues to be abused today. My post on the latest doings of the Catholic Church spells out just some of that.

So I have no doubt I've made the right decision for myself.

Thanks for the support. *hugs*
Apr. 22nd, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
You've definitely chosen the more difficult option, branching out onto your own path. But I also think it'll be the more fulfilling choice, in the long run.

I am reminded of this moment, which is probably the closest I have to an actual philosophy:

Apr. 23rd, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
I love sci-fi for giving us new ideas. ♥
Apr. 23rd, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
You are brave for following where your heart and mind lead you.

Apr. 23rd, 2012 08:53 am (UTC)
Right now, I think I'd rather be lazy than brave. I don't want to think too much about it. ;-)
Apr. 25th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
I've thought about this too. Quite often. I imagine it's been very hard.

I've been struggling with the institutions, also, and feeling cut loose. On the other hand, I cannot give up faith.

Love you...
Apr. 27th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC)
I never thought I would give up my faith. It is where my journey took me, and I can't go back.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )


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